Training our future aviation workforce today
Boeing recently predicted that airlines will have to hire 498,000 pilots — about 25,000 each year — to support all the new aircraft they are expected to add to their fleets over the next two decades. They will also need 556,000 new maintenance technicians, or about 28,000 a year.
With thousands of pilots retiring each year and the demand for new pilots increasing, training for aviation careers has to start in high school. Jeppesen is providing local school districts in Colorado with products, services and monetary donations to facilitate the training of our future workforce.
The Aviation Technology class offered at several Denver high schools helps students understand and appreciate all of the facets of the aviation and aerospace industries of today. Topics range from how to obtain a private pilot license to careers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Additionally, students prepare for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) private pilot knowledge exam; the first step to a flying career.
The class instructor, Joe Suchman, is a passionate instructor and advocate of Jeppesen. He uses donated items in his classroom such as a partially built ultra light, various navigation instruments and propeller blades to supplement lectures. This hands-on teaching helps to clarify abstract ideas such as how a VOR (very high frequency omnidirectional radio range) receiver in an airplane turns a radio signal into a navigational bearing. Jeppesen has provided textbooks, computers and other products to the program over the years.
Former students of the program are currently employed in careers such as air traffic controllers, airline and military pilots, and aircraft me¬chanics. Instruction includes lecture, discussion, and computer-based flight simulator programs. The class also participates in various field trips to places such as Peterson Air Force Base, Cen¬tennial Airport, NORAD, and the United Airlines Training flight simulator.
Sean Cowan joined Jeppesen five years ago and is a navigation information analyst in Terminal Charting. “I learned about the Aviation Technology class my sophomore year of high school and that it was available as an elective for juniors and seniors. I was already planning on becoming a pilot and this class became my first step toward my Private Pilot Certificate. My father was an Air Force fighter pilot for 14 years so flying was the only thing I wanted to do as I grew up.”
Asked if this high school program prepared him for his future career, Sean said, “For my job role at Jeppesen, yes. Being a pilot and learning the material that Joe teaches has absolutely helped me in my work. Starting during my junior year in Joe’s class, I logged as much flight time as I could afford working my way to becoming a CFI (Certified Flight Instructor). During my instrument training I used Jeppesen charts. This background gave me a good understanding of the rules and regulations of instrument flying as well as great familiarity with the Jeppesen product.”
After graduating from high school, Sean attended Metropolitan State University of Denver in the Aviation Technology department. Jeppesen is also a strong supporter of the Metro program, donating funds and products. Asked about his further plans, Sean said, “I am very interested in other Boeing subsidiaries that work with UAVs.”
By donating funds, services and products to high school programs, Jeppesen is making a difference in our communities. Getting students interested in aviation, whether they become a pilot, maintenance technician or any of the other career opportunities available in aviation or aerospace, will provide us with the workforce of tomorrow.